Simone Leitão, pianist
"Brazilian virtuoso Simone Leitao brings a decidedly colorful vitality to this recital (rec. May – July 2011), a varied and rhythmically electric as well as eclectic mix. Rachmaninov's Sonata No. 2 (1913; rev. 1931) allows the epic Romantic in Leitao expression with passionate impulse. Leitao performs the work for all of its unbridled emotional upheaval. The dark chromatic lines appeal to Leitao, who fills them with sultry mystery and Lisztian demons."
"Leitão came alive in the Andante assai, playing with passion and providing some ravishingly beautiful melodies within the challenging texture."
"Momoprecoce, fantasy for piano and orchestra, represents Villa-Lobos' modernist vein... Leitão was the capable, note-perfect soloist in this eleborate work, a concerto in everything but name. She was most convincing in the dreamy, rhapsodic sections in which she displayed stirring lyrical sweep."
Known for her intense vitality, ample technical means, strong rhythmic drive and fire in her performances, Simone Leitão continues to rise as one of the most exciting pianists of her generation to emerge from Brazil. She holds an active career as soloist in the Americas, Europe and China. Simone is the Artistic Director of Brasil Classical (since 2009), an organization that promotes Brazil's symphonic music, its composers and interpreters in USA and Brazil, Rio International Chamber Music Week (since 2012) and Academia Concertante Youth Orchestra.
Simone, a native of Minas Gerais state, lives in the United States where she graduated as DMA (2009) in piano performance at the University of Miami, Frost School of Music, in the studio of Ivan Davis (pupil of Vladimir Horowitz), with a minor in Musicology. Simone's recital, chamber and orchestra appearances have taken her to halls such as Carnegie Hall, Knight Concert Hall at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami twice as soloist of Miami Symphony, Sala São Paulo, Sala Cecilia Meireles, Gewandhaus zu Leipzig, Teatro São Pedro, Lindeman Saal, and has collaborated with maestros such as Eduardo Marturet, Ricardo Castro, Luiz Malheiro and Guilherme Bernstein.
In 2011 she released her first solo CD by American Record Label MSR Classics, which was highly acclaimed by critics and launched with a extensive tour of Brazil and England where she played at BBC Radio 3. For 2013, she is preparing her first orchestra tour of Brazil (Orquestra Sinfonica de Barra Mansa, conductor Mikhail Agrest) when her case as a pianist and cultural entrepreneur will be documented in a film directed by american film maker Katia Lund for Brazilian TV Globo News. She will also play again at Carnegie Hall in January 2014, this time in a solo recital of Bach and live brazilian composers.
With a prolific repertoire which ranges from Bach and Scarlatti to Guarnieri, Villa-Lobos, Prokofieff, Scriabin and Rachmaninoff, Simone is a curious and creative interpreter who will research to always find a communicative way to present the music of the past and present to the today's audience. In 2010, Brazil's ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva attended one of her concerts.
Simone Leitão holds a Master Degree in Piano Performance from Norges MusikkHögskole (The Norwegian Academy of Music), Oslo, where she graduated from the studio of Geir Braaten (pupil of Yvonne Lefebure) and BM in Music Education by the University of Rio de Janeiro.